Beating Burnout: Applying the science

This is part 2 of our posts on beating burnout. You can read part 1 about the science of brain chemistry here. In this post we talk about applying the science in the real world.

Recently we were in Silicon Valley launching a unique Health and High Performance program for a tech company. This company has a lot going on, and they realize that they are pushing their employees for optimal performance. They also realize that in an innovation economy, optimal performance, retaining their best talent, and ensuring their employees are both engaged and energized gives them the best chances of producing new billion dollar ideas.

Understanding that healthy and happy employees are also productive and creative employees is not new. The problem is that most approaches by companies who hope health promotion or wellness programs will optimize performance and mitigate burnout risk, are doing little more than hoping. That is, most programs fail to make the links between improved health, energy management, and how employees can personally leverage them to sustain high performance.

The program we are creating joins those dots. It helps employees understand and align their personal values and drive to perform, with their physical and mental health and lifestyle behaviors. The result? Sustainable performance, improved resilience, and greater satisfaction.

While many corporate health programs are good at initial assessments and awareness raising on a group level, their biggest downfall is in failing to capture this period of motivation and transforming it into sustainable personal change. One reason is the poor framing of values by the company and development of an inconsistent culture. That is, while they say they want employees to be healthy, they continue to push a culture and expectation of long work hours and a high stress environment. As you learned in the brain chemistry post, that may push some people who are naturally "wired" that way, but for many, the attempt to "sprint a marathon" is ultimately a path to burnout and disengagement.

The approach we're taking with this company (and others) is to help align those values and culture. Presenting education and consistent messages at the group level reinforcing health and high performance is combined goals, and supporting this at the individual level with personalized insight and behavioral strategies to help individuals understand their personal "wiring" and  effectively oscillate between peak performance and optimal recovery. The exercise and nutritional strategies of one team member might be different to another, but together, they understand each is doing what they need to do to maintain balance.

In the past we've seen this approach be highly successful. With improved group health, improved engagement, and improved productivity (see the Darren Kane video on the homepage). For this group we are looking to monitor and measure similar health and performance outcomes. Don't get stuck by resorting to default "wellness" options which rely on incentives and physical compliance. If getting the most from your talent and providing them value to entice them to stay with you longer are goals, consider a program that more effectively joins the dots between those combined health and performance goals.

Click here for a bit of a summary on some of our approaches, or to learn more, ask us!      

Published on by Andrew Stephenson.